As we celebrate International Women's Day in 2023 and its theme ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’ it is important that we recognise not only the contribution of women but also the inordinate and unreasonable burden that women and girls the world over have borne in the face of blatant or hidden abuses of power. While power imbalance can manifest itself in physical form – it often is through information and knowledge or a lack of it that inequality and inequity can flourish.
In the three areas that the Edmund Rice Centre has traditionally focused its work we see women continue to bear a disproportionate burden whether in
· gender or family targeted violence perpetrated on those seeking refuge,
· carrying the burden of caring for families and communities because of climate induced changes to societies, or
· suffering through the indignity and trauma of policies such as forced removal of children by government,
This does not account for the incredible waste of human talent, energy and capability that societies who subjugate and relegate women as being of less value and or standing bear as an opportunity cost.
As the Director of the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education, I would like to express our ongoing commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls through advocacy, community education and the policies and programs the centre engages in.
At the Edmund Rice Centre and through the broader network of Edmund Rice Community Services group we work towards ensuring gender-based approaches are incorporated in all that we do.
On this International Women's Day 2023, let us all commit to working towards a future where women are treated equally and with respect, where gender-based violence is eliminated, and where women have equal access to economic opportunities and importantly access to information, knowledge and the ability to be empowered by it and in turn empower others.
As Australia and as a global community we can all strive to build a more just and equitable society, where women are valued and empowered.